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What we need is here

Geese appear high over us, pass, and the sky closes. Abandon, as in love or sleep, holds them to their way, clear in the ancient faith: what we need is here. And we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye, clear. What we need is here. --Wendell Berry

This Sunday, as we celebrate Epiphany, I invite you to be in prayer for your own epiphany. Epiphany marks the end of our Christmas celebration of twelve days. Traditionally, it is the day that the wise men brought their gifts and laid them before Jesus. During worship, you will be invited to bring your gifts and lay them before Jesus. As we look toward a new year and new life for our congregation, I am reminded of Wendell Berry's poem. Though not scripture, he gets it right. What we need is here. As we begin to dream God's dream for our congregation, it's vital to think about the assets we already possess. What do we have to offer God? I know the congregation has done several gifts inventories over the last few years, but I encourage you to think again and to think broadly about this question. What do we have to offer God? We often think about this in terms of time, talent and treasure. These are all needed. In a world where everyone is rushing around and the common complaint is being too busy, your time is incredibly valuable. Each one of us has skills that we have learned - whether creative or technical, personal or professional – and our talents are varied. Perhaps our treasure (money and physical possessions) is the most difficult to part with – especially when it means that we cannot direct exactly how it will be used. And yet with all these things, we remember that we are giving them to God, towards God's purpose of restoring the world. And beyond time, talent and treasure, I invite you think about your intentions, what brings you joy, how you feel. All of these are part of our assets. And what we need is here. As I was with a group of seminary students in Haiti, we visited with a program focused on eradicating ultra-poverty in the Central Plateau. As the director was telling us about an organization that had recently decided not to follow through on a funding promise, our leader pointed out to the group, “What we need to solve this problem is here in this room – the only problem is that it is in the wrong pockets.” We nervously laughed because seminarians are notoriously broke, and yet, I know he was right. What we needed was there and we were all gifted beyond what we could imagine, yet we could not see it. As we prepare to worship together on Sunday, I invite you to take inventory of what is in your pockets, what you have to offer. Because, with Berry, I know, what we need is here. In the abiding hope of the Risen Lord, Pastor Lecia


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